About Gout: Frequently Asked Questions

Posted on October 4th, 2016 by Orthopaedic Specialty Group

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Knowing about the symptoms, causes, and treatment options for gout can help patients make informed decisions about their health. Here is some basic information about gout, courtesy of the orthopedic doctors at OSG

What is gout?

Gout is a complex form of arthritis, caused by an excess buildup of uric acid in the body. Gout is known to cause sudden, severe attacks of pain, inflammation, redness, and tenderness in the joints. It is not uncommon for a gout attack to wake people up in the middle of the night. While it most commonly occurs in the big toe, gout can also be found in the ankles, heels, knees, wrists, fingers, and elbows.

What are the symptoms of gout?

The symptoms of gout almost always occur suddenly, often at night without warning. Attacks usually get better within 3-7 days, even without treatment. The next attack may not occur for several weeks, months, or even years. You may have gout if you suddenly experience any of these symptoms:

  • Joint pain

  • Inflammation

  • Redness

  • Heat in the joints

  • Stiffness

  • Limited range of motion

What causes gout?

Gout occurs when there is too much uric acid in the body. Uric acid is produced when the body breaks down a substance called purines, which is found in all of your body’s tissues, as well as foods such as peas, beans, and anchovies. This uric acid usually passes through our kidneys and is secreted in our urine, but a buildup can occur if your body produces more than your kidneys can process.

Other risk factors for gout include:

  • Family members who suffer from it

  • Being a male

  • Obesity

  • Alcohol consumption

  • Organ transplants

  • Enzyme defects

How is gout treated?

If you suffer from gout, your doctor may prescribe you medications to help ease the pain brought on by attacks. These include:

  • Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs)

  • Colchicine

  • Corticosteroid injections

In addition to gout treatment, your doctor may also prescribe medications that block uric acid production, or improve your body’s ability to remove it, in order to prevent future attacks.

To learn more about gout, check out this fact sheet from the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases.

If you live in southern Connecticut and suffer from gout, or any other form of arthritis, trust the doctors at Orthopaedic Specialty Group to quickly diagnose and alleviate your pain. Visit our website for more information, or give us a call at (203) 337-2600.